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Born With a Rusty Spoon: Episode 50

Artist Bertie Stroup Marah continues her life story.

In 1964, at the age of forty-six, Daddy died of a heart attack brought on by diabetes. Larry and I drove to Estancia for his funeral. I handled the news of his death well until I saw his face as he lay in the casket. At that moment I was forced to accept that he was forever lost to me. My sorrow for a lifetime without him overwhelmed me. The infrequent letters and few short visits over the years were so inadequate. The wall of self-control tumbled and I wept for all the experiences I had missed.

Daddy had remarried, and I had a ten-year-old stepbrother, Joe. He and Jessie absolutely adored our father. My grief for the loss of Daddy could not compare to that of my brothers who had spent more time with him. Willie was sad too, because Daddy had always treated him like his own son. Years later I visited Joe and his family in California and found him to be a good man with a lovely family. His son was named for our father, Hollan Tracy.

It was at Daddy's funeral that I received one of the nicest compliments ever paid me. One of P.G.'s cousins, who attended the service, sought me out to tell me how she had looked forward to meeting me for a long time. She explained that P.G.'s family spoke highly of me, and had told her how diligently I had taken care of Phyllis and Reita when they were little. That unexpected compliment from a member of P.G.'s family meant a lot to me. Until then, I had no idea that my years as a surrogate mother had been noticed and appreciated.


To buy a copy of Bertie's wonderful book please visit

To see some of her pictures click on


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